Saturday, December 24, 2005

Palestine-Israel, Bil'in, the joint struggle against the separation fence intensify towards the highest court decision at 1st February 24 Dec

The outpost which was built on the lands of Bil'in on the west side of the separation fence - adjacent to the illegal building site of the settlement town Modi'in Elit, on the robbed lands of Bil'in, existed a day and a half. The outpost that was named "Bil'in center for the joint struggle for peace" got lot of Israeli and international media cover. During its short time existence till it was destroyed, it was held mainly by activists of Bil'in and Israelis of the Anarchists Against The Wall initiative. A nice surprise was the friendly visit of 5 orthodox Jews from the already inhabited area of the settlement. Thursday evening, the armed forces of Israel brought to the outpost about 150 police, soldiers, and fire brigade personnel. They force entered the big metal container used as the out post center, and after detaining the people confiscated it and took it away.

Most of the activists involved were released immediately except 7 of the Israelis who were among the people in the outpost structure or on its roof, who were taken to the Givat Zeev police station. When it was announced in Bil'in that the outpost was destroyed, few hundreds marched towards the separation fence and confronted the Israeli armed forces there, who dispersed the demonstrators with tear gas grenades. Few hours later, the 7 Israelis were released though they refused to sign a bail with the usual condition that they will not return to Bil'in for two weeks.

The usual Friday demonstration was held nearly as usual. The theme of this demo was similar to the one of the previous week - the illegal building of settlement on the lands robbed from Bil'in villagers using the separation fence. At the front of the demo people held a big three languages banner: "This is an illegal construction". Participated in it about 100 people of Bil'in, about 70 Israelis mobilized by the anarchists against the wall initiative, about 20 international activists and about 10 from the Bir-Zeit university. Because of the frequent rain showers, many of the participant held umbrellas, while marching and chanting and singing.

As usual, the armed state forces blocked our way on the road about 50 meters from the route of the fence, but though they pushed the people brutally, they could not prevent us from constructing a big tent on the side of the road. This tent was announced as replacement to the center for joint struggle for peace destroyed the evening before the other side of the fence.

And as usual, participants of the demo tried to reach the route of the fence through the olive orchards on the side of the road. And as usual, the armed forces pushed the people back and showed us and read loudly the document declaring the region closed for Israelis... and as usual no one took it seriously - not even when the level of brutality escalated and four of us were injured and needed medical treatment.

And as usual, not far from the nonviolent demonstration, youngsters confronted with stone throwing the soldiers who responded by shooting at them tear gas canisters....

During the nonviolent demonstration and the violent actions of the state forces two Israelis and one Palestinian were detained. The Israelis were released on the spot at the end of the demonstration while the Palestinian comrade was taken to the Givat Zeev police station with intention to relocate him to the Ofer concentration camp.
After three hours of verbal and physical confrontation with the armed forces and frequent raining showers, it was announced that the demo was ended but the big tent that was declared as a replacement for the center for joint struggle for peace destroyed the evening before on the other side of the fence will stay and be held by Bil'inians and Israelis - at least till the confiscated container of the outpost will be returned.

Media Report: Security forces beat four protesters near Bil'in village
Protesters clashing with IDF troops during a protest against the security fence near the West Bank village of Bil'in on Friday. Security forces beat four anti-fence protesters near the West Bank village of Bil'in, and one of them was beaten after he was arrested, demonstrators in the area said Friday.

Three of the protesters were lightly hurt and the condition of the arrested demonstrator is unknown.

The clashes erupted Friday after 200 Israelis, Palestinians and foreigners tried to arrive at Bil'in in order to erect a protest tent against the expansion of the settlement of Upper Modi'in on lands confiscated from the Palestinian residents of Bil'in.

On Thursday Israel Defense Forces troops evacuated some 50 left-wing activists who had barricaded themselves inside a caravan "outpost" built near the Bil'in on land cut off from the village by the separation fence.

The fence cuts village residents off from approximately half of their lands.

According to activists at the scene, the IDF force numbered some 150 troops, who broke into the caravan using sledgehammers and chains. The caravan was later lifted in the air by a crane to prevent people from returning.

Several activists were also detained for questioning. The activists inside the caravan included 30 Palestinians and 20 left-wing Israeli activists.

The caravan was situated on land adjacent to the Matityahu East neighborhood of Upper Modi'in, where hundreds of illegal Jewish housing units have recently been constructed.

Security sources said that it was clear to them that immediately after the evacuation, they would need to explain to the court why they are hurrying to act against Palestinian illegal construction and tarrying on curbing illegal construction in the settlements.

According to one of the sources, the Palestinian outpost "turned into a security problem the moment there was no fence separating the caravan dwellers from Israeli territory."

Bil'in has become the symbol of the struggle against the separation fence, serving as the site of dozens of joint Palestinian-Israeli demonstrations in the past year. Some of the demonstrations have ended in violent altercations with security forces.

Dealing with the caravan is liable to be an embarrassment for the IDF and the Civil Administration.

Akiva Eldar of Haaretz recently exposed the Civil Administration's admission that 750 housing units had been built illegally with no permits whatsoever. The caravan, which arrived Wednesday from inside Israel, was standing approximately 100 meters away from the Matityahu East construction site.

According to the law, the Civil Administration can take down the container within a month of its placement without legal proceedings. But the IDF is well aware that if this is done, the Palestinians will formally accuse the Civil Administration of discrimination in hurrying to dismantle a lone Palestinian caravan while ignoring hundreds of illegal units in an adjacent Jewish neighborhood.

Civil Administration sources said that the construction in Upper Modi'in is indeed illegal and "the head of the Administration is examining its options to address the situation."

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